Pikachu Name Change Protest Highlights Language Tensions in Hong Kong

posted on by Lynzee Loveridge

A small protest took place at Chater Garden in Centra to the doors of the Consulate-General of Japan in Hong Kong on Monday. Approximately 20 protesters held signs and marched together to protest Pikachu's pending name change from Bei Ka Chiu (Cantonese) to Pei Ka Yau (Mandarin). At first glance, the issue may seem minor but it highlights a general discomfort with perceived "cultural whitewashing" in Hong Kong where Cantonese is falling by the wayside in favor of Mandarin.

A study published by the Neo Democrat social movement and political party found that less than 40% of elementary schools are teaching Cantonese.

The protest was organized by the populist Civic Passion and gaming-focused Lonely Media. Lonely Media deputy editor Sing Leung remarked on the importance of Pokemon for a generation of Hong Kong natives and said the change by Nintendo is trampling on Hong Kong culture by replacing Hong Kong names with unified Chinese ones.

The group demonstrated by tearing up the new names outside the consulate before handing a letter to security personnel. The protesters had hoped to give the letter to Japanese Consul-General Kuninori Matsuda.

Back in March, 6,000 individuals signed a petition asking Nintendo to switch the names back but the company stood by their decision.

Source: Chantal Yuen at Hong Kong Free Press

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